Posted by Brian McCullough
You’ve heard the phrase about falling in love, “It happens when you’re not looking for it.”
An important thing to understand about job search networking is, you don’t just network when you need a job.
A lot of you who read this blog are in the middle of the job search, or are at least thinking about a job search in the near future. But if you’re reading this blog and you’re not exactly looking for a job this very moment, I’ve got news for you:
NOW is the time that you should have your antenna up.
The reason being is this: the quickest job search you’ll ever have is when you’ve already got birds in hand… opportunities lined up for the day to come when you need to explore other options. And those opportunities present themselves every day. If you’re not remembering them, keeping track of them and cultivating them, then you’re letting your best job leads pass you by.
When you’re actively in the workforce is when you have the greatest access to contacts within your industry and without. Keeping up relationships now with anyone and everyone could pay dividends down the road. That vendor you’ve taken out to lunch and shmoozed to land a sale from, she’s the one you might be able to approach if layoffs are on the horizon.
When you’re talking to colleagues or co-workers or even competitors and you hear about hirings and firings, job openings and layoffs, new expansions or openings… the tendency is to let those roll off you because you’re not looking for a job at the moment.
In reality, you should be filling those details away in your mind. You might not need anything now, but someday you might, and those are at least fresh leads and solid contacts to pursue down the road.
So, like learning, networking is a lifelong process. Don’t concentrate on networking only when you have a need.
It’s when you’re not actively looking for a job that the best opportunities might present themselves. Keep your eyes and ears open.